Spanish Grand Prix 2005 Media Review

Kimi Raikkonen’s won a race, and so the F1 journalists roll out the inevitable ‘Iceman’ puns. Meanwhile, ITV apologised for their almighty cock-up during the San Marino Grand Prix.

Before we get stuck into the papers, a word on ITV. Justly chastised for cutting huge swathes of the Fernando Alonso-Michael Schumcher battle in favour of adverts during the San Marino race two weeks ago, a penitent Jim Rosenthal apologised to viewers before the Spanish Grand Prix coverage kicked off, and the editors paid far better attention to slotting advert breaks into quieter periods.

Of course, they were aided by the fact that this was the Spanish Grand Prix on the overtaking-free zone that is the Circuit de Catalunya, and the breaks were still far too many and far too long, but it’s a start.

Post-race the papers are flogging ‘Iceman’ headlines and quips about Schumacher being ‘deflated’ after two punctures harpooned his charge in Spain. The Daily Express lines up both: “Iceman turns heat on deflated champ” but yet again fails to give F1 a high position it deserves in the back-page pecking order.

Their correspondent Bob McKenzie may be tipping a wise choice by in backing Toyota, “whose massive investment in F1…is coming good.” But then, this is the same Mr McKenzie who promised to run naked laps of Silverstone if McLaren won a race last year…

The Daily Telegraph run Schumacher’s “deflated” championship hopes on the front page of their sports section. The race write-up too gets a substantial almost-A3 page (one column given over to a nauseating pro-London 2012 Olympic bid piece by Sebastian Coe, but I digress) but Kevin Garside’s pop at Kimi Raikkonen is sub-tabloid nastiness: “You might not want to sit next to Raikkonen at dinner unless, of course, you have an appetite for lap dancing.” In the same newspaper Sarah Edworthy’s piece on Alonso, by contrast, is the pick of this week’s F1 writing. And the comedy picture of Kimi (above) is most appreciated.

The Guardian use a similar editorial line to The Telegraph’s, that Raikkonen’s win is a riposte to the critics who lambasted his unsavoury off-track exploits during the 2004/5 winter break – but the Guardian handle it with a little more subtlety and that is welcome – so too is the double-page spread in the middle of their sports section. But there’s that pun again: “Schumacher deflated as tyre troubles leave Ferrari off the pace…”

A curious piece entitled “Cheer up, Jenson” is to be found in the Daily Mail. “Kimi shows elusive win can be yours” claims the sub-heading. This sureness is somewhat at odds with writer Ray Matts’ doubtful contention that “whether [Button] would have been able to match the scintillating pace of flying Finn Kimi Raikkonen is debatable.” And even that point should be refuted – Button clearly didn’t have the pace even when his car was running underweight at San Marino. Sorry Jense, but there you have it.

At least the Mail run an exciting picture of the flames that leapt from the back of Jarno Trulli’s Toyota during his first pit stop. It’s a shame the flame reds and mechanic panics are only reproduced in black and white (right) because, once again, you have to have a good rummage into the obscure depths of the paper to find the story.

Not so in The Times, whose excellent piece is given a deservedly prominent place. But here we go again with the puns: “Rivals melt away as Iceman turns up the heat.”

You can usually rely upon The Independent to steer clear of obvious puns and, sure enough, there are none in their coverage. David Tremayne is bang on the money when he asserts that this year may not provide great individual races, but it could well be a closely-fought championship: “Warm up your television sets and set your videos for the forthcoming Monaco Grand Prix. This has the makings of a Championship fight you do not want to miss any part of.” Indeed – especially if you have one of those flash new video recorders that cuts out the adverts…

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